The ancestor will be revolving

Rage against the dimming light: Irish rebel over lighthouse LED makeover

One of the lights to be changed is St John’s Point. Which is – I assume at least – where g g grandpops was. He was a lighthouseman and moved up from Queenstown to Dundrum and there aren’t many other lights around there.

He’ll thus be revolving. Or, of course, heartily approving. If they work better then why not?

28 thoughts on “The ancestor will be revolving”

  1. Lighthouses? How quaint. “We don’t need no stinkin’ GPS.”

    ‘It’s part of our heritage, the quality of our beautiful light. It just shows what philistines they are.’

    Bastards got rid of sailing ships, too.

  2. Gamecock: I’m assuming the US equivalent of Trinity House (US Coastguard?) maintain lighthouses over there, or are they all now ‘heritage’ installations?

    We visit family in Devon (or did before current lockdown nonsense) and can see the Berry Head light. This used to have a lovely rotating lens system and the light amplitude profile was probably close to a couple of Gaussian pulses every 15 sec. It was also slightly yellow. Now it’s two LED units one above the other and the pulses are instant on/off and a searing blue-white (why? a redder tint would go further in mist). There is now a warning sign not to look directly at the light as on-axis it’s far brighter than the original – the bottom LED unit is about eye height for me as Berry Head is a tall cliff and the light building is low.

  3. The loom is important for ranging when navigating, so as long as that’s still there, the whiter light might actually make it easier to positively Identify for its primary role of marine navigation.

    As for those mocking the need for lights, professional sailors like to use real-world objects – attached to the ground – to confirm their GPS position and track. Satellite navigation is a wonderful thing, but the physical world is essential too: just try blacking out the windows of your car and navigating by sat nav alone and see how that works out!

  4. As for those mocking the need for lights, professional sailors like to use real-world objects – attached to the ground – to confirm their GPS position and track. Satellite navigation is a wonderful thing, but the physical world is essential too: just try blacking out the windows of your car and navigating by sat nav alone and see how that works out!

    Not least due to “certain” regimes playing silly buggers with GPS spoofing: eg https://www.hellenicshippingnews.com/mass-global-positioning-system-gps-spoofing-at-ports-in-the-peoples-republic-of-china/

  5. What fascinating survivals of another era:

    the Commissioners of Irish Lights, a cross-border body that manages lighthouses in Northern Ireland and the republic

    Trinity House, which manages lighthouses in England, Wales, the Channel Islands and Gibraltar

    The Northern Lighthouse Board, which maintains 206 lighthouses and 167 buoys in Scotland and the Isle of Man

    How on earth have these bodies escaped being taken over by Brussels?

  6. If they work better then why not?

    Work better at what, though?

    The long range is reduced, the short range is more dangerous, the over-the-horizon visibility is less, people don’t like the light, the light is more disruptive to wildlife – and the energy savings from changing to LEDs cannot possibly recoup the high costs of modifying a relatively few bespoke lighthouses in difficult locations.

    The only thing “better” is politicians meeting the arbitrary targets they funded the green NGOs to campaign for. I wonder what quality of light you get from burning human body fat.

  7. TG, I checked on the Charleston Light on Sullivans Island. Still operational. It is now owned by the National Park Service, but maintained by the Coast Guard. More of a landmark than a navigation aid.

  8. As for those mocking the need for lights, professional sailors like to use real-world objects – attached to the ground – to confirm their GPS position and track.

    I more or less assumed that’s why these things are still there. In case your gadgets play up and/or for confirmation. I imagine that in a small fishing boat knowing your current position to the centimetre isn’t very helpful in finding a channel or avoiding a reef.

  9. ‘As for those mocking the need for lights, professional sailors like to use real-world objects – attached to the ground – to confirm their GPS position and track.’

    [Citation needed]

    My older brother used to poo poo GPS. We got caught in a heavy fog on the lake a few years ago. Looking for landmarks, nothing made sense. We looked at my GPS and “OHHHHHHH! That’s where we are!”

    “You can guide my sleigh tonight!”

  10. “There will be no more lighthouse keepers to go mysteriously missing though.”

    I can remember the plague of lighthouse keepers, in ‘71 IIRC.

  11. BiW: I saw that for real last year. Taking off from HKG the GPS on my phone tracked us along the taxiway and taking off along the runway until we were about 50 ft in the air. At that point it would be able to see signals from the city (or Shenzhen, perhaps), and the phone stopped tracking. We flew east & then turned north over Kowloon, and the GPS didn’t come back until we were well away from the city.

  12. ‘just try blacking out the windows of your car and navigating by sat nav alone and see how that works out!’

    Wut?

  13. “[Citation needed]”
    I’m a yachtsman. On a murky night in a lumpy sea, GPS is wonderful, but it is great to have something visible – anything really – to help the helmsman to orient himself and to keep his steady course from moment to moment. Because he is looking around more often than he is looking at his instruments. And rightly so.
    And if the helmsman’s mind wanders, then some member of the crew can yell at him – “head up, you’re 30degrees off course”

  14. “[citation needed]”
    As a professional sailor and instructor… spot on NDReader. Plus it’s easy to come a cropper by relying solely on GPS/chart plotter – just too easy to make a silly error and misunderstand changing tidal flows, leeway, miss detail on a vector chart etc. A secondary (real world) reference is invaluable to ensuring proper navigation as that will show the effect of tide and wind, such as following depth contours or using lights/landmarks. Day sailors and amateurs easily fall into the GPS-only trap, overestimating their abilities and getting caught out in a stressful situation such as fog or when instrumentation fails.

  15. “Because he is looking around more often than he is looking at his instruments. And rightly so.”

    Instrument flight training is all about getting pilots to trust their instruments. Which is hard to do. Which is why they die.

    John Kennedy, Jr., for example. Not IFR trained; flew his plane straight into the water. Looking out the window, and not at the instrument panel.

    “And rightly so” sounds like famous last words.

  16. Ltw 🙂

    The Goodies managed to operate Jolly Rock just by putting a candle on Tim’s head.

    Fang Rock had a very powerful light if I recall.

  17. Gamecock… boats are not planes. Collision avoidance is much more important in vessels as the sea is not regulated like the air, most vessels don’t have AIS/secondary radar, flight plans or any ATC. Even in fog we wouldn’t rely solely on GPS exactly for this reason, preferring to seek out shallower water and follow depth contours. Larger vessels have regulated lanes and are more comparable, although they still need to deal with the smaller vessels that they can only see visually/hear. Failure to keep a good lookout for other vessels is the number one cause of serious accidents – as the US navy keeps finding out!

  18. Robert McCabe, director of coastal operations, said “The new LEDs would shorten the St John’s Point beam from 25 miles to 18 and give a blue-white tinge to the light, but there would still be a loom”

    Why give the protestors a reason? Use more LEDs and use a similar colour. Anyway, for a Lighthouse I’d have thought a laser lamp (like BMW headlight) would be better

    Fond memories of Blackhead Lighthouse and Donaghadee Lighthouse sweeping across bedroom window in Bangor when atmosphere right

    @Tractor Gent
    Spot on. New tech taken too far as so often

    @Dennis
    British Lighthouses precede RoI leaving UK. RoI still benefit, mostly without paying for, UK protection – Lighthouses, RAF…

    @PJF, NDReader
    Agree. I’d rather rely on an immobile object I can see than electronic wizardry

  19. @ Pcar
    I didn’t comment on Lighthouses vs GPS.
    And Dennis didn’t comment in the thread at all.

    See what the LED light does to you?

  20. PJF said:
    “The long range is reduced, the short range is more dangerous”

    Interesting. Is that a feature of LED lights? I thought I’d noticed something similar when I replaced the house light bulbs with LED filament ones – brighter close up, but doesn’t seem to get into the corners of the room. But I thought I must be imagining it because I thought light couldn’t work like that. Is there something in it?

  21. It seems unlikely that LED light defies the inverse square law; I suspect there are physiological explanations, including our reaction to the “digital” on/off high frequency flickering of LEDs (they go instantly fully on-off-on hundreds of times a second as opposed to the 50 or 60 Hertz dimming with ac filament lamps).

    Whatever the cause, the effect is readily apparent. On some streets in my town that were sufficiently lit with low-pressure sodium lamps, when the LED replacements were stuck on the same lamp posts there were stretches of darkness between (folk complained). And whereas the sodium lamps were not especially dazzling to look at, the LED emitters are almost painfully intense.

  22. Grendel
    August 3, 2020 at 11:10 am

    As for those mocking the need for lights, professional sailors like to use real-world objects – attached to the ground – to confirm their GPS position and track. Satellite navigation is a wonderful thing, but the physical world is essential too: just try blacking out the windows of your car and navigating by sat nav alone and see how that works out!

    Especially close to land – and if you can see a lighthouse you’re close to land. At which point you’re navigating using GPS, radar, and visual bearings all together.

  23. @PJF

    Making me backwards now

    Damn that LED cold blue light

    Dennis? Meant Gamecock

    You. Agreeing with both posters views

    @PJF August 4, 2020 at 11:41 am
    Flashing: yes – visible on car brake lights in BTCC Porsche support race (same fps effect as wagon wheels going backwards)

    LED Street lamps dead zones: same here, and they drive birds into mental insomnia. Problem with LEDs is they’re directional, not diffuse

  24. “I’d rather rely on an immobile object I can see than electronic wizardry”

    “The fog comes on little cat feet.”

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